1.So, What the Heck is a Mary-Sue, Anyway?
2.“Arms and Legs and Everything”
3.“OMG teh ANGST!!1”
4.“Phenomenal Cosmic Power!”
5.It’s On Your Console for a Reason
6.“Why Won’t She Die?”

1. So, What the Heck is a Mary-Sue, Anyway?

Defining characteristics

Simply put, a Mary-Sue is an extremely idealized and glorified original character, often (but not always) an avatar or “self-insert” of the fanfic author. Males of this type are sometimes called Gary-Stu, Marty-Stu, or Marty-Sam. Regardless of gender, Mary-Sues have at least some of the following characteristics:

  1. Exceptional physical beauty.
  2. A phenomenal singing voice and/or a fondness for singing, especially inappropriate songs at inappropriate times.
  3. An overly-dramatic, often tragic, backstory.
  4. Supposedly unique abilities that may or not be useful, e.g. prophecy or telepathy.
  5. A marked tendency to upstage canonical characters, e.g. saving the entire Fellowship from certain doom.
  6. A pronounced and deleterious effect on any and all canonical characters, including, but not limited to:
    1. compelling the writer’s favorite character to fall in love with him/her,
    2. compelling apparent spontaneous reformation and/or repentance in any evil or selfish characters,
    3. commanding respect or even deference from canonical authority figures.

These characteristics can come in as many different combinations as there are ’Sues, which is to say quite a lot. Some will stand out as boldly as the typos on the page, others will be more subtle. In the end, it is how they come together to warp the canon that counts.

2. “Arms and Legs and Everything”

Beauty is overrated

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3. “OMG teh ANGST!!1”

Her sad story

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4. “Phenomenal Cosmic Power!”

She can’t do that!

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5. It’s On Your Console for a Reason

Push the red button

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6. “Why Won’t She Die?”

Various types of ’Sues and how to kill them

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